“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Do you ever feel like the world is going crazy around you? We hear more news today than any people ever in the whole history of the world. We know more about what’s going on in the remotest parts of the world…and most of it seems to be bad. The culture around us is increasingly sensualized as is amply demonstrated in the media. The political divide only ever gets sharper. Opposing sides of issues can hardly have civil conversations anymore. Students have been taught for years that human life is of little value and the fruits of this are coming to bear in the news of school shootings happening all the time including another tragic one just last week. Psychological disorders are common. People are more and more addicted to just about everything–social media, exercise, body image, pornography, opioids, alcohol, stuff. Consumerism and materialism are rising to levels unheard of in human history. What do we do in the midst of the filth storm that seems to be raging around us?
Micah wonders the same thing. His culture in ancient Israel was a mess. He himself felt spiritually and socially bare. He was picked clean of everything good. Lost, it seemed, was a basic goodness among the people. They were constantly on the lookout for how they might take advantage of their neighbor. The weak and the powerful alike sought what was evil and were well-accomplished in achieving it. The level of cultural trust was low to the point of non-existence. People could not even trust the members of their own family. The breakdown at home was spiraling into abuse and violence. How would he respond?
We have basically three responses when we feel like we are in such a situation. The first is cynicism. The culture is going to Hell in a hand-basket and so we might as well jump on for the ride. If everyone else is doing evil all the time, why not get in on some of the fun? The basic idea here is to embrace the evil because why not? It doesn’t matter anyway. No one else seems to be facing any consequences. If we are at all interested in the way of Jesus, the problems with this approach should be obvious.
The second response is cowardice. This manifests itself in a few different ways. The common theme among them, though, is a refusal to engage. We are so repulsed by what we see that we decide the only thing to do is to run from it. Where we might run depends on a number of things, but all of the places are varying themes on looking out for ourselves and the world can go its own way. While this approach has been made to seem holy at various times throughout history, to recognize something as evil and to simply give up on it will not do. Again, for followers of Jesus, this is particularly problematic because it is fairly well the opposite of what He did during His ministry.
The third response is courageous trust. This is the path Micah took. In the midst of a culture that had gone insane, Micah looked to His God. Rather than joining in the chaos or running from it, Micah stayed the path of righteousness and waited to see how the Lord would save him. It takes courage to stay the path of righteousness when all the world around us is going every way but that. And yet, that is where our hope and salvation will be found. If we want the path of life in the midst of the chaos, courageous trust is the way to go.